My immediate reaction is one of mild surprise considering that Podsednik previously turned down the $2 million mutual option that the Dodgers exercised earlier this offseason.
Assuming he makes the team, you would think that Podsednik would likely act as a platoon partner for Juan Rivera (assuming he’s still on the team) and add some speed off the bench. His defense has declined sharply over the past five years and he hasn’t been a regular center fielder since 2004 with the Milwaukee Brewers.
But looking at the splits, Podsednik’s career .736 OPS versus right handed pitching is actually worse than Rivera’s .769 OPS, and only compares favourably to Corey Patterson’s .724 OPS. However, further examining the past few seasons, Podsednik’s possible value to this team becomes a bit more clear.
Scott Podsednik had an OPS vs. RHP of .780 in 2009, and .754 in 2010. It’s hardly setting the world on fire, but it’s better than Rivera’s .730 in 2009 and .707 last year. In fact, Rivera hasn’t had an OPS vs RHP above his career average since 2006.
If you’re going to look at recent numbers, than you have to bring Patterson back into the conversation, who also offers better defense than Podsednik, and could probably even fill in for Rajai Davis in center field in an emergency.
253 PA, 6.7 BB%, 22.9 K%, .341 OBP, .449 SLG, .159 ISO, .344 wOBA.
You should probably note Patterson’s .349 BABIP against RHP last season when you look at those numbers as well.
As we’ve discussed before, another interesting fourth outfielder option is Darin Mastroianni who can cover a lot of ground in center field, and act as a back up second baseman, but the right handed hitter has never played above Double A, where, over the last two seasons, he’s gotten on base more than 38% of the time.
Mastroianni is also a right handed hitter, but has been doing alright against right handed pitching. Last season, again at Double A, the 25 year old had an OBP of .381 in 454 plate appearances against righties.
So, what does that mean for Podsednik? Well, whatever. He’ll be coming to Toronto on a Minor League contract so as my classy uncle would say, “It’s no sweat off our sack.”
And if for nothing else, he’s got a hot wife.